WordPress.com-105913My fifth year in blogging is now coming to an end.   My blog began with in the fall of 2008 over at blogspot, and then I migrated it here to wordpress in late January 2009.

Once a year– and only once a year, I like to share some reflections and statistics upon my year here at 21k12.

2012 sadly saw a small dip in the number of postings: down to 120 posts this year, compared to 150 last year, 165 the year prior.  My aim continues to be an average of 3 times weekly, 12-15 times monthly, and I say this because blogging is best practiced as a habit, as a regular discipline such as exercise, and when I fall off my routines and slow my pace, I feel a faltering and a fading that doesn’t serve me.  The longer I go between posts, the harder it is to get going on a new post.

But, I do allow myself vacations– and as I completed my third and final year as St. Gregory’s head of school last spring, I took almost two months off from the blog.  In my weeks working on the blog, I’m still maintaining the three (or even a tad more) weekly posts.

As for total page views, growth continued.   Last year I wrote that “my 70,000+ page views in 2011, compared to 29,200 in 2010 and about 16,000 in 2009, represents a second consecutive year of doubling my readership. ” I then said I had n0 expectation of doubling again in 2012, setting instead an ambition to climb from 70,000 to 100,000.

But I did double again, for the third year in a row, taking 2012 views to 142,000.


Let me be clear here: there is no possibility that 2013 will see a fourth “doubling” in views.   I’m setting instead a goal of 175,00, which may be itself ambitious.

In classic 20/80 fashion, it is only a very small number of posts and pages which generate the view rates in the five figures that support the high overall  totals.

One is my graduation speech page, launched in 2011, which, as I explained last year, I put up as a resource for principals and school-leaders looking for advice and sample speeches to give at graduation. Before posting this, I remembered vividly a few occasions when I was just days or hours away from a school graduation talk, and I jumped onto Google to find some samples for inspiration and format/templates, but rarely succeeded in finding useful examples.   So I thought I could be helpful by loading up a page that provides links to about a dozen of my past graduation remarks.   The graduation speech landing page generated almost 24,000 hits, every single one of them the result of a search engine search for “graduation speech by principal” or a closely related variant.,

The sample graduation talks which the landing page directs readers to generated another roughly 20,000 page views, the most popular of them being  Helping Others is the Real Victory, (3800), Struggle to Grow and Learn: Remarks to Middle School Students at Promotion (3400), and Map-making, not following: Learning, Leading, Innovating: (2700).

My most popular post here from 2012, at almost 15,000 views, was a post offering a roundup of favorite 21st century learning videos: Videos Suggested for Back to School Faculty Meetings and other educational audiences.   This was not only my most viewed 2012 post, but the Twitter count on this one astounded me, at almost 700 tweets, by far my “most tweeted” ever.

The 21st century videos post I pulled together in a couple of hours in August, sitting on my couch watching the Olympics.  After my summer travels, I was returning with vigor to my blog, and I remember thinking it was a good time to try to put up a popular post, one which would generate a little more traffic than the average– something less dense with text, something people would find useful and want to pass around.   It seemed to me too that it was the time of year when many principals and school-heads were planning their back to school faculty meetings, and it was a good time for an inspirational video to rally and motivate for 21st century learning.   So I intended and expected this particular post would be popular– but I didn’t expect it to surge as strongly as it did, bringing me my best-ever single day page view the day after I posted it, 1967.

Over at Connected Principals I did a similar thing in the beginning of August.  Knowing that many principals write a summer-time back to school letter for families, and knowing that the example of such a letter which I posted the summer prior had generated quite a bit of search engine traffic, I thought to myself maybe I can offer some suggestions for writing these letters– what tone to take, what to include, etc– in a post entitled  9 Suggestions for the Welcome Back to School letter from the Principal.  This one has now welcomed over 13,000 views, and holds the status currently for single most-viewed post for 2012 at Connected Principals by any of the contributors there.

Here then are the top ten most-viewed in 2012 posts (and composed in 2012).

  1. Videos Suggested for Back to School Faculty Meetings and other educational audiences (14719)
  2. “Best Ted Talk Ever:” Shawn Achor on Happiness and Productivity (4309)
  3. Beating the Cheating: Five Ways to Combat the Plague  (3726)
  4. Treating Others as Ends: Katniss Everdeen, Social Entrepreneurship, and the Ethical Imperative: (1560)
  5. Khan Academy and flipping the classroom on 60 minutes: the good and the bad (816)
  6. Play, Passion, Purpose, and Project Based Learning: Thoughts on Tony Wagner’s new book, Creating Innovators: (813)
  7. Formative Assessment, Practical Skills, and PBL: What’s Next On the Horizon: Pat Bassett’s NAIS Presentation (791)
  8. Networked Learning at the core of a new report on Innovating Pedagogy (702)
  9. “Flip Your Classroom”: the new book from Bergmann and Sams (584)
  10. Thoughts on Will Richardson’s fine 19 Bold Ideas for Change in Education.(572)

A few comments.  The traffic drawn to the second most popular post, “Best Ted Talk ever,”  feels like a bit of a manipulation on my part.    I titled it as I did innocently: so many of my students came to me afterwards to say to me that it was their favorite Ted talk I’d ever shown– and so it seemed a natural choice to title it with that quotation.  But much of the traffic comes when people google something like “best Ted talk ever,” and that doesn’t seem right.

In contrast, it was very exciting for me to see the traffic generated for my number three on this list, “Beating the Cheating.”  I didn’t have very high hopes for traffic to this somewhat serious piece, but then, to my great surprise and delight, it was picked up and shared by Cory Doctorow at boingboing, bringing it many more readers who clicked Doctorow’s link.

HOWTO fight cheating by promoting authentic learning - Boing Boing-102917

Increasingly I’m writing on other sites as well, but don’t have the capacity to track traffic in the same way over there.  I’m glad to have contributed two pieces to the newsletter of the Santa Fe Leadership Center, which has a mailing list of 5,000; it is also great to be writing regularly for SSATB and its Think Tank on the Future of Admissions Assessment, though I think the traffic there is only beginning to build.

Now, here is the list re-cast as my favorite ten (well, ok, 14: it is so hard to choose favorites among my babies), favorite in that I believe they are most significant for their content and value. Recognize that these represent just over a tenth of all posts from the year: there were many others I was sad to have to leave off this list.

  1. Beating the Cheating: Five Ways to Combat the Plague  (3726)
  2. Play, Passion, Purpose, and Project Based Learning: Thoughts on Tony Wagner’s new book, Creating Innovators: (813)
  3. Networked Learning at the core of a new report on Innovating Pedagogy (702)
  4. 8 More Flips for the Coming School Year
  5. 8 Steps of Leading Learning Forward: A Case Study of Pam Moran’s Educational Leadership
  6. Rheingold’s Excellent Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, An Appreciation
  7. Invisible or Intentional: Thoughts on the metaphors for integrating technology in learning and life.
  8. Summer Reading 2012: Recommended reading for educators and others, Fiction and Non-Fiction
  9. Performance Task Assessment: 10 Things for Educators to Think About
  10. 4 Key Elements of Effective Principal-ship in successful 1:1 programs, From Project Red research
  11. Learning Analytics and Messy Learning: Can it be Teacher and Student Centered? #cfhe12
  12. Open Computer Testing, Open Network Testing, Open Internet Testing
  13. Advancing Peer Networking: Johnson’s Future Perfect and Implications for Learning
  14. The 7th C: Connectivism

Number 12 on this list,  on open computer testing, captures a set of resources a pulled together, including several of my posts on this topic, for a presentation I made at NAIS in Seattle with Scott Morris, Ph.D.   It was great to see others take interest in Open computer or Open Network testing, as, for example, Will Richardson did in February.

Will ·  Open Network  Tests-105007

My thanks to all who visit here on occasion and read, comment and share.   There are several of you who have been especially supportive and encouraging with your regular comments and tweets– you know who you are: please know I am very appreciative.

Onwards to 2013!